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Authors, Publishers and Publications: What is the Difference Between an Author and a Publisher?

2015-04-06 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I wrote about publishers on one of my “personal” blogs (see “Zen and the Art of Giga Om“), and I treated domains / websites / domain names as individual publications (many other people view them as outposts or shingles for people or companies; but I see them as quite analogous to the role book titles have had — especially insofar as each book title also needs to be associated with the author or authors and other publication information [such as details about the publisher, etc.] ).

Today, I thought more about these distinctions — especially the difference between authors and publishers. In my view, the most authentic form of publishing is “self publishing”, because that way there is nothing in between the author and the finished product (the publication)… and this is usually the case online — but not always.

There are some websites — many of them are quite “popular” — where authors submit their content, and then a separate entity (in this case, it makes sense to identify these entities as “publishers”) publishes the content (or not — according to the publisher’s discretion). All of what is commonly referred to as “social media” uses this publishing model. If someone were to sign up as a “member” of this website (, the situation would be quite similar. I also have other websites in which I publish content from various authors automatically (i.e., as “RSS feeds”), and then I also post my views on those (or similar) topics of interest to me. In this case, the model might be more along the lines of an approach used by “Readers’ Digest” or similar collections (another similar method is sometimes referred to as “content aggregation”).

Although I do feel that such methods of “content curation” (a sort of meta-content) will become more widespread over time — and here I wish to emphasize the important role of human intelligence, which will probably not be equaled by artificial intelligence or simple “brute force” algorithmic bean-counting machines within the foreseeable future (quite certainly not within decades, and perhaps not even within centuries)… nonetheless the vast majority of content — insofar as it might be deemed authentic (cf. “Authenticity Guidelines“) — will be self-published.

Therefore: Increasingly, in the vast majority of cases, authors and publishers will be one and the same person (or entity).

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